VAGRANT QUEEN, VOL. 1
Updated: May 17, 2019
Writer: Magdalene Visaggio Art: Jason Smith Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
A space adventure grounded in reality, following an exiled queen who has no desire to reclaim her throne.
Vault called it "Star Wars if Princess Leia was the main character," and I'd say that's pretty accurate.
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Elida Al-Feyr is a queen on the run.
She does work for hire, Firefly style. Her latest job paid well, but when an old “friend” tells her he can find her mother, she can’t help but sign onto this new gig. After all, her mother was captured during the uprising that caused Elida to live life on the lam the past 15 years -- how could she pass up the chance for a reunion?
But if they do find her mother, Elida has to give her old acquaintance, Isaac, her ship. Well, his ship. It’s complicated.
Anyway, she and Isaac have to break into forbidden space to find her mother. But they’re also being chased by ex-Marquis Ori-Bastra, and eternal jerk, Lazaro. Though part of the aristocracy, he helped overthrow the monarchy and has been pursuing the Queen ever since. In fact, he’s dead-set on killing our vagrant queen, and there might be even more to his plan than he’s letting on...
Will Elida find her mother? Or will Lazaro finally capture and kill her? Can both happen? Is that an option?
Magdalene Visaggio hits all the adventure genre high notes: Slogging through a sewer, breaking out of jail, being pursued for years by an unshakeable enemy from our protagonist's past
Visaggio's characterization is strong: people talk colloquially, normally, grounding it in a relatable reality while giving the story a devil-may-care tone
It’s no accident the villain is an entitled white man abusing others because of something as ridiculous as rumors, and that he blames everything on a strong woman of color
Speaking of which, our main character is a very likable, strong woman of color -- something we need much more of in comics and media as a whole
Visaggio also made sure to write Elida so she can be straight, cis, trans or queer -- however the reader wants to define her, something that works for any audience
A line from the comic stuck with me: "All the old things must pass away." This, combined with Elida's very mature and open-minded decision not to try to retake her throne feel like a powerful statement on old ways of thinking and how privilege should step down to make way for progress.
Jason Smith's panel layout shuns the 9-panel grid-style for rich backgrounds and dynamic action scenes, creating an immersive, informal and constantly in-motion world. For an example of this and Saxon's colors, check out the page below.
Smith's characters, their facial expressions and mannerisms are reminiscent of classic, late-night cartoons, washing Vagrant Queen in a sense of nostalgia.
Zakk Saam's lettering is fun and sci-fi influenced and immersive
Harry Saxon's colors can go from Moebius pastels to moody dark palettes with pops of red. It really works for a book that can go from space adventure to comedy to drama in the span of a few panels.
I don't often go into design, or even credit the designer in these reviews, but Tim Daniel at Vault absolutely kills it with every Vault title. In this one, he uses a single moment in between panels as a chapter divider to foreshadow an event and then remind the reader how violent and terrible a person this character is.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK?
Violence & cursing make this not the best book for kids
Some story events felt spaced too far apart, so that I couldn't make certain connections until the second time reading the story
Doesn't necessarily break new ground in the genre as far as story goes, but it still makes for one entertaining comic!
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you're looking for a fun space adventure that won't bum you out, check out Vagrant Queen. If you're looking for stories featuring a nuanced woman of color, read Vagrant Queen. If you're l- actually, you know what? Just read Vagrant Queen. It's a lot of fun.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Eternity Girl by Magdalene Visaggio & Sonny Liew
Wasted Space, Vol. 1 by Michael Moreci & Hayden Sherman
Rat Queens, Vol. 1 by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch
If you like the art:
Kim & Kim by Magdalene Visaggio & Eva Cabrera
On the Verge by Jason Smith
Firefly by various creators
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Magdalene Visaggio – Writer
Multitalented: Also sometimes contributes articles to Paste Magazine
You can support her on Patreon to ensure she's able to keep writing fantastic comics like this one
Is an outspoken champion for LGBTQIA+ rights both in her comics and in her daily life
Jason Smith – Artist & Cover Artist
His work often combines traditional and digital media
Has been making comics since 2010
Harry Saxon – Colorist
Outlander: Lives in England, but born in Greece
Test of Time: Has worked as an independent illustrator and colorist since 1999
Zakk Saam – Letterer
Inspired by Nate Piekos/Blambot, Clayton Cowles & Dave Sharpe
Dream Team: Also worked with Magdalene Visaggio and Harry Saxon on Sex Death Revolution
Adrian F. Wassel – Editor
Name Recognition: Is the CCO & Editor In Chief of Vault Comics, and plays the role of editor on most, if not all, of Vault's titles
Also helps run Vault with his brother and father
Has personally helped other comics creators in their endeavors
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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